Arlington Poet Laureate

I’m honored to accept this position to advocate not just for poetry, but for all the literary arts in Arlington. Literature in general – and poetry in particular – has the power to build bridges, to create community, and to speak to and from the heart – and if there were ever a time when these skills were needed, surely, surely it is now.

— Remarks to the Arlington County Board, July 19, 2016



Swearing In Ceremony for County Board Member Libby Garvey, December 2016 (photo by Ryan Hudson). Video of the reading can be found here.


On July 1, 2016, KATHERINE E. YOUNG began serving a two-year term as the inaugural Poet Laureate for Arlington, Virginia. The Poet Laureate “serves as an advocate for poetry and the literary arts and works to advance Arlingtonians’ consciousness and appreciation of poetry in its written and spoken forms. The Poet Laureate represents Arlington’s commitment to fostering a creative environment that encourages collaboration, innovation, and community participation.” The Poet Laureate has four specific duties:

  • Write at least two original poems in honor of occasions of special civic significance and present the poems at public readings;
  • Officiate at up to three County special events, as needed, by sharing an original work or presenting others’ words of reflection at civic events;
  • Facilitate two community engagement programs, working with Arlington Public Library and Arlington Cultural Affairs, to engage the public with poetry and the literary arts and bring poetry to a wider audience;
  • Serve as a juror for the annual Moving Words Poetry competition and contribute one poem to be displayed on Arlington’s ART Buses along with the winning poems.


With Wendy Mann 4 4 April 2017

Wendy Mann interviews Katherine Young for WERA FM’s “The Story Hour.”

Poems written by Arlington’s Poet Laureate to mark civic occasions:

“Women’s Work”

“Columbia Pike Blues”

“hush: unbutton sunset”

Read Kim O’Connell’s Arlington Magazine interview with Katherine Young about her work as Poet Laureate here.

Read Barbara Ruben’s article about Katherine Young and other DC-area laureates in The Beacon here.




Hear Wendy Mann’s interview with Katherine Young on WERA FM’s “The Story Hour” (April 2017): .


Official Poet Laureate Events


World War I Reading at Central Library 15 March 2018 by Susan Mockler

Robert L. Giron, Holly Karapetkova, Richard Peabody, and Katherine Young read at “Poetry of World War I: A Commemoration” (photo courtesy of Susan Mockler).

Missed the reading? You can find Katherine Young’s partial bibliography for the poetry of World War I, including poetry about the war translated from many other languages, here: Poets of World War I.


Celebrating with Eve Nardone at the Student Moving Words reading, November 2017


If you’d like to invite Katherine Young to read or speak to your group or be a part of a program, please make your request to Please be aware: the Poet Laureate’s compensation covers the time spent on the duties listed above. Arlington County does not cover the costs of the Poet Laureate appearing at events beyond her official duties. The County strongly recommends providing speaking fees or other compensation to poets for reading or presenting, whenever possible; paying artists for their work advances the arts and helps artists continue to be a part of our community and enrich our lives. Availability, scheduling, and compensation should be discussed directly with Katherine Young.


Katherine E. Young Induction1

With members of the Arlington County (VA) Board and representatives of Cultural Affairs/Arlington Arts and the Arlington County Libraries on July 19, 2016 (photo by Julia Karell)


Representing Arlington in Moscow and Novosibirsk, Russia…

…and at home (photos by Heidi Daniels, Cynthia Connolly, and Sarah Browning).


Reading of “Evening Storm, Ballston” at the laureate induction ceremony, Arlington County Board, July 19, 2016


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